Thursday, 28 June 2012

Praise In Summer


I had a go at listening to Father Z's – ahem – podcazt the other day and was surprised, but pleased to find him reading poetry! Here is one that I liked so much I thought I’d blog it:

Ferdinand von Wright - Sommerlandschaft

"Praise In Summer" - Richard Wilbur
Obscurely yet most surely called to praise,
As sometimes summer calls us all, I said
The hills are heavens full of branching ways
Where star-nosed moles fly overhead the dead;
I said the trees are mines in air, I said
See how the sparrow burrows in the sky!
And then I wondered why this mad instead
Perverts our praise to uncreation, why
Such savour's in this wrenching things awry.
Does sense so stale that it must needs derange
The world to know it?  To a praiseful eye
Should it not be enough of fresh and strange
That trees grow green, and moles can course
     in clay,
And sparrows sweep the ceiling of our day?
Wonderful stuff; reminds me of Chesterton thematically, but then, he covered a lot of ground did G.K. I miss reading poetry; press releases from Italian car manufacturers don’t quite hit the same spot…


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Monday, 25 June 2012

Psalm Tones for Night Prayer: Psalm 87(88) - Tone V

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
     make many to be accounted righteous,
     and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
     and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.
- Isaiah 53:11-12

We're getting there with learning the tones for night prayer; this would be the penultimate one:

Day
Tone
Tone for 2nd Psalm
Nunc Dimittis
Sunday 1
VIII
VIII
IIIAt last, all-powerful Master...
Sunday 2
VIIIHe who dwells in the shelter of the Most High...

III
Monday
II
Turn your ear, O Lord, and give answer...

III
Tuesday
VIII

III
Wednesday
I
VIII
III
Thursday
IPreserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

III
Friday
V
Lord my God, I call for help by day;

III

All the MP3s are here, and this is a one-page PDF summary of all the tones.

This is tone V. It only comes in one flavour apparently, which simplifies my posting it. The first stress mark is for the flex, so you can see that it's based on a pattern of one stress for the mediant and two stresses for the termination:

Some verses from the psalm for Friday, marked with the stresses that we need to bear in mind and with part of another psalm because there'd be no flex otherwise.
Lord my God, I call for help by dáy;*
I cry at níght befóre you.
Let my prayer come into your présence.*
O turn your éar to my crý.

I call to you, Lord, all the day lóng,*
to you I strétch out my hánds.
Will you work your wonders for the déad?*
Will the shades stánd and práise you?

Will your love be told in the gráve*
or your faithfulness amóng the déad?
Will your wonders be known in the dárk*
or your justice in the lánd of oblívion?

In the day of my distress I sought the Lórd.†
My hands were raised at night without céasing;*
my soul refúsed to be consóled.
I remembered my God and I gróaned.*
I pondered and my spírit fáinted.

This is my version of it: MP3. As usual, I've had to adapt it a little to fit the English, but it's the same kind of stuff as before, so I don't think I need to go into it. It has a plaintive feel which goes well with the text; those Lutherans don't miss a trick.


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Friday, 1 June 2012

Earthquake



Image courtesy of the
U.S. Geological Survey
Apparently all it takes to stop me blogging about #twitterangelus is a 5.8 earthquake.

It makes sense for me to blog about it, but to be honest, I'm probably not the best person to fill you in on what's happening. As a sojourner in a strange land who also has a 1.5 year-old daughter to worry about, living at a bit of a distance from any kind of family, many of life's little details, including important ones, pass me by: I shall do my best.

So, at the beginning of the year, when there was still a world of snow about, there were some earthquakes here, and now we have a repeat performance. The epicentre was in the same province as us, about 25 miles away. What we experienced was nothing like what's going on at San Felice, but it is too close for comfort. San Felice is in the north whereas we're in the south just before the plain turns into mountains. Immediately to the north of us is the city of Modena, where most of my colleagues work; no damage there that I'm aware of, but they're feeling enough tremors to keep their nerves on edge.

We were just settling down to work in my office when it arrived; oddly I didn't feel anything myself, but I took my cue from my colleagues who were hastening out of the door. I didn't feel anything the second time either. I haven't felt anything for a while now, but there was night when there seemed to be a little quake every 5 minutes; then again, it's hard to tell how much earthquake you're inventing out of nervousness.

All this seismic activity has caught the region on a back foot; the last big event was a medieval one, and though Italy as a country is very much prone to earthquakes, the Emilia-Romagna was considered low-risk until now. A lot of seismologists have been interviewed recently, for obvious reasons, but the best news you will ever hear from an Italian seismologist is "We can't rule out the possibility of further quakes"; unfortunately, that's the peninsula you're dealing with. What's worse is that the quakes at the beginning of the year and these ones don't seem to have the same cause. The earth is busy adjusting itself underneath us, and there's not really any way of telling how it will pan out; the best case scenario is a series of little quakes (many earthquakes aren't even felt) which discharge the latent energy that needs discharging. The fear is that we have another more dramatic event. The region will undoubtedly receive a new risk rating and consequently building requirements; not a lot of help in the short term unfortunately. Monica's Dad however (who does know something about these things; he's been coordinating volunteers from the Province of Ancona from our bedroom - her parents happened to be visiting)

Anyway, here in Sassuolo, we're fine but nervous. Schools have been closed, and our church, San Giorgio, seems to have developed some cracks. You will have seen the something about the worst hit areas elsewhere; besides which, I'm struggling to keep up with events. What I do know is that some are some real bastards about. People, not without reason, don't want to leave their homes, for fear of thieves. Some especially foul people have been impersonating the Protezione Civile (a voluntary emergency relief force, among other things) and telling people to evacuate their homes because of an imminent quake (impossible to predict, btw), specifically so that they can steal from them. Monica's Dad is pretty scandalised by how they're responding here. He read about one village where the parish priest was organising the relief, but it's absurd that the Protezione Civile could allow such a situation to be necessary (he was among the first group of volunteers to arrive, but coming from le Marche, the next region down).

Monica's pretty nervous, especially about the idea of being at home alone with Noemi when her parents leave, so her Mum is prolonging her stay, and we'll be going down to Offagna for a week (I'll be working remotely).


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